If you are planning a trip to Bhutan in 2023, you may have questions about the Bhutan visa requirements for entering the country. Bhutan is a unique destination that requires visitors to obtain a visa through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator, and some specific rules and regulations must be followed. This article aims to provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Bhutan visa.
Who must require a Bhutan visa?
All foreign nationals, except for citizens of India, the Maldives, and Bangladesh, require a visa to enter and stay in Bhutan. Visa applications must be submitted through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator, who will process the application on behalf of the traveler.
Visitors are not allowed to apply for visas directly with Bhutanese embassies or consulates. Additionally, visas are issued only upon receipt of the full payment for the tour package, and visa clearance must be obtained before travel.
Documents required to apply for a Bhutan Visa
Here are the documents required for obtaining a Bhutan visa:
- Passport: A valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry into Bhutan.
- Passport Size Photo: One passport-sized photograph with a white background.
- Tour Itinerary: A detailed itinerary of your tour, including the places you plan to visit and the duration of your stay in Bhutan.
- Accommodation Confirmation: A confirmed hotel booking or accommodation details for the duration of your stay in Bhutan.
- Tour Payment: The full payment for your Bhutan tour must be made in advance through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator. The visa will be issued only upon receipt of the full payment.
- Visa Application Form: The visa application form must be completed accurately and signed.
- Medical Certificate: A medical certificate is not mandatory but is recommended, especially for those who have any pre-existing medical conditions.
Bhutan Visa Application Procedure
Here is a general overview of the application procedure for obtaining a Bhutan visa:
- Choose a Licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator: The first step is to choose a licensed Bhutanese tour operator and plan your itinerary with them. They will process your visa application on your behalf.
- Complete the Visa Application Form: Once you have planned your itinerary, your tour operator will provide you with a visa application form to complete. The form must be completed accurately and signed.
- Provide Supporting Documents: You will need to provide all the necessary supporting documents, including your passport, a passport-sized photo, confirmed hotel booking, tour payment, and medical certificate (if applicable).
- Submit Your Application: Once you have completed the visa application form and gathered all the necessary documents, you can submit your application to your tour operator. They will forward it to the Bhutanese Department of Immigration for processing.
- Receive Visa Clearance: The Bhutanese Department of Immigration will process your application and issue a visa clearance letter if your application is approved. The visa clearance letter will be sent to your tour operator, who will forward it to you.
- Obtain a Visa Sticker: You will need to present your visa clearance letter upon arrival in Bhutan, and a visa sticker will be issued at the port of entry.
Bhutan visa fees
The Bhutanese visa fees are set by the Bhutanese government and are subject to change. As of 2023, the visa fees for visiting Bhutan are as follows:
- Visa fee for tourists from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives: No visa fee is applicable.
- Visa fee for tourists from other countries: USD 250 per person per day (for peak season months of March, April, May, September, October, and November) and USD 200 per person per day (for off-season months of January, February, June, July, August, and December).
- The daily tariff includes accommodation, meals, transport, and guide services, among other things. The visa fee must be paid in advance to the Bhutanese tour operator as a part of the tour payment.
Processing time required for a Bhutan Visa
The processing time for a Bhutan visa varies depending on several factors, such as the time of year, the volume of visa applications, and the efficiency of the Bhutanese Department of Immigration.
However, in general, it takes approximately 7-10 working days for the Bhutanese Department of Immigration to process a visa application and issue a visa clearance letter. This processing time does not include the time required to plan you’re itinerary and gather all the necessary documents.
Bhutan Visa Validity and Extension
The validity and extension of a Bhutan visa depend on several factors, including the type of visa and the duration of your stay in Bhutan. Here are some general guidelines:
- Validity of Bhutan Visa: A Bhutan visa is valid for the duration of your stay in Bhutan. For tourists, the visa is typically issued for the duration of the tour package, which is usually 7-14 days.
- Extension of Bhutan Visa: It is possible to extend your Bhutan visa if you need more time in the country. However, visa extensions are subject to approval by the Bhutanese Department of Immigration and may take several days to process. Additionally, visa extensions are only granted in exceptional circumstances, such as a medical emergency or a genuine reason beyond your control.
- Multiple-Entry Bhutan Visa: It is possible to obtain a multiple-entry Bhutan visa, which allows you to enter and exit the country multiple times during the validity of the visa. However, multiple-entry visas are typically issued only to those who have a genuine reason for multiple visits, such as business travelers or researchers.
How to obtain a Bhutan Work Permit?
To obtain a work permit in Bhutan, you will need to meet certain eligibility criteria and follow specific procedures, which may include:
- Eligibility criteria: Typically, to be eligible for a work permit in Bhutan, you will need to have a job offer from a Bhutanese employer, possess the necessary qualifications and experience for the position, and demonstrate that you have the means to support yourself during your stay.
- Required documents: The specific documents required to obtain a work permit may vary depending on your country of origin, the nature of your work, and the duration of your stay in Bhutan. However, common documents required may include your passport, work contract, proof of accommodation, and evidence of your qualifications and work experience.
- Application process: You will need to submit your work permit application to the Bhutanese Department of Immigration, which is responsible for processing work permits. The application process may involve completing an application form, submitting the required documents, and paying a processing fee.
- Approval process: Once you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by the Department of Immigration. If your application is approved, you will be issued a work permit. If your application is denied, you may be allowed to appeal the decision.
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